Stop Asking Me to Echo Canned Sentiments in My Facebook Status

I am not a parrot. Stop asking me to act like one.

It’s completely out of control. Every day, at least one of my Facebook “friends” posts something like this:

If you’re not scared, put this as your status and see what people rate you!!!
(1) Crazy (2) I’d marry you (3) I want to date you. (4) Sarcastic (5) I miss you (6) I’d kiss you (7) Beautiful (8) Smart (9) Imaginative. (10) Random (11) Smart mouth (12) Funny. (13) Fit. (14) Amazing. (15) Tough. (16) Cute. (17) I’d hit you with a bus. (18) I love you. (19) Weirdo (20) Friends forever

or this:

At 3 years”Mommy I love you.” At 10 years “mom whatever.”At 16 year “My mom is so annoying.” At 18 years “I am leaving this house.” At 25 years “Mom you were right.” At 30 years “I want to go to Mom’s house.” At 50 years “I don’t want to lose my Mom.” At 70 years I would give up everthing to have my Mom back.” you only have one Mom. Post this on your wall if you appreciate and love your Mom.

or this:

MAY I ASK MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS, WHEREVER YOU MAY BE , TO KINDLY, COPY, PASTE & SHARE THIS STATUS FOR 1 H0UR TO SUPPORT ALL THOSE WHO HAVE HEALTH PROBLEMS, WHO ARE STRUGGLING , AND JUST NEED TO KNOW THAT SOMEONE CARES. Do it for all of us , unfortunately no one is immune………AND MAY I ADD…….GOD BLESS ALL THE CAREGIVERS!!!!! THEY ARE THE TRUE HEROS……………♥ ♥

or this:

We are asking everyone to say a prayer for the US “Navy Seals” team and their families. Their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan and 30 team members lost their lives. IT WOULD BE NICE TO SEE IT ON EVERYONE’S PAGE…Even if its only for an hour. Come on guys! Show your support! I am HONORED to re-post this! Thank you to ALL of “OUR” Service Men and Women

or this:

30 lost, 30 unwanted visits, 30 doors receive that dreaded knock, 30 families with shattered hearts, 30 pairs of boots lined up with rifles and dog tags and helmets, 30 comrades remembered and grieved for, 30 funeral services, 30 names on newly made grave markers, 30 empty places at the table, 30 souls who gave all, whose lives leave a void, so let’s take 30 seconds to repost this and pause to reflect on such a sacrifice as 30 gone forever…GOD BLESS ALL THEM ALL!! ♥♥

or this:

I have a personal favor….. Only some of you will do it, and I know who you are. If you know someone who fought cancer and won, or fought cancer and died, or someone who is still fighting please add this to your status for 1 hour as a mark of respect and in remembrance. I hope I was right about the people who will! I will do this for my family and friends…!

or this:

There are moments in life when you wish you could bring someone down from Heaven…and spend the day with them just one more time, give them one more hug, kiss them goodbye or hear their voice again. One more chance to say I Love you. Copy and paste in remembrance of our loved ones who are not here..gone but not forgotten!:} IN LOVING MEMORY OF DESIDERIO LOPEZ AND DANIELLE BRITTANY LOPEZ….YOU BOTH TOUCHED SO MANY HEARTS AND WILL FOREVER BE MISSED BUT NOT FORGOTTEN…. ♥ ♥

or this:

COUSINS are the first friends most people ever have when they are children. No one will ever understand your crazy family like your cousin. Even if you haven’t talked much lately. Re-Post if you have some of the BEST Cousins in the world! I love my cousins….my cousins are the best. ♥ ♥

Don’t get me wrong: I have feelings for these causes. (Well, maybe not cousins because mine aren’t anything to brag about.) I just don’t think a social networking service is the place to air someone else’s feelings about them.

I find the canned commentary about the recent helicopter crash in Afghanistan most offensive of all. War is tragic, bringing news of death daily. I can’t begin to understand what the friends and family of soldiers killed or injured overseas must feel. These young people have given their lives for their country and back home, life goes on. It’s horrible to think that the best we can do is copy and paste the same bunch of poorly written “tributes” on Facebook. Especially when we only seem interested in doing it after an unusually tragic event, ignoring the people who are killed or maimed every damn day the war goes on.

This reeks of slacktivism:

Slacktivism (sometimes slactivism) is a portmanteau formed out of the words slacker and activism. The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist.

When I challenged this parroting on Facebook with the comment “Either I’m friends with a bunch of losers who can’t seem to come up with anything original or this is completely out of control,” one of the worst offenders responded:

Losers..I think not!!!!! I have friends with loved ones that are now serving in our military……….When something bad happens, it effects us all…..No one wants that knock on the door!!!! We are showing support….NOT JUST POSTING FOR THE HELL OF IT!!!!! AND….I and many others have had family members that have either died or survived cancer………..I WILL NOT ACCEPT THE FACT THAT I AM OR ANYONE ELSE I KNOW ARE LOSERS!!!!!

(Perhaps all that is true, but there’s definitely something wrong with her Caps Lock key.)

I’ll argue this: There are far better ways to show support than to echo poorly written sentiments composed by others. If I’d lost someone in that helicopter crash and had to see this crap posted and reposted on Facebook all day long, I’d be shattered. Aren’t these people worth a little more effort? Can’t you put your sentiments in your own words?

Why are so many people like sheep?

So I came up with a New Rule: You ask me to put something canned in my Facebook status for “even just an hour” and I remove you from my news feed.

That should lower the noise to signal ratio a bit.

11 thoughts on “Stop Asking Me to Echo Canned Sentiments in My Facebook Status

  1. There is the temptation to offer comments sufficient to fill a book, because I see the sentiments at the base of verbal noise of this type to reflect a highly frayed social fabric and social disconnect. To shout into the wilderness in hopes of someone far away shouting back may be, for many, the only social outlet they feel is available to them.

    There is much loneliness out there, leaving many people brooding until one event, one news item, one comment etc. opens the dam that holds back much self-generated emotional drama and offers the opportunity to release. But rather than realizing that much of this is self-administered therapy, the outpourings can be packaged to represent nobility of purpose instead.

    The real world has gone virtual, and in such world fantasy reigns supreme, and untended emotions become the reality.

    I have the advantage of looking back over more than 3/4 century of living.. My take on things is clearly out of date, but perhaps it takes a human relic to remind us that we made it to today because we were able to prevail in the real world.

    Today is the future of all prior yesterdays. I cannot help but wonder how the future can be informed by how manage our present.

    Just thinking out loud here —

    • I think I do agree that at least SOME of the people who copy and paste Facebook updates are indeed looking for recognition from others. That makes it all the sadder. All they’re doing — in my eyes, anyway — is proving over and over again that there’s nothing in their own minds that would make me want to pay attention to them. The Facebook updates for that “worst offender,” who I mentioned in the post, is full of these copy-and-past sentiments. There’s very little else that she posted on her own. Maybe no one is shouting back because no one feels it’s worthwhile. It’s also very interesting to me how she pounced on my use of the word “loser.” It was a cruel word, used to stir emotions, but no one else acted defensively to it. Is that the way she sees herself? If so, why not do something to change that view?

      I guess it all comes down to the general lack of original thought among people these days. Most of what you find on Social Networks is links to content written by others. While some of this content is indeed very link-worthy, it would be nicer if these people could come up with their own good, interesting, original thoughts and ideas worth sharing.

      • Hummm. I was really thinking of posting this but was afraid to offend my facebook “friends”. The more I read the more I wanted to link it up. Then I came to the part that reads “Most of what you find on Social Networks is links to content written by others.” & well … now I’m torn.
        So, I will satisfy my need to post by commending you on such a great mind & thanking you for a great read.

        • It’s a funny thing about this post…people want to share the sentiment, but in doing so, they commit the crime they’re trying to stop! Thanks for taking the time to comment, anyway!

  2. I do frown upon those posts. Clearly they are not well thought out. And while I do not routinely get into ‘battles of wits with the unarmed’ as they say, I once lost my composure and replied with, “How does a Facebook re-post pay tribute to a cancer survivor? Either individually (one survivor) or collectively (many survivors)? If you believe it does, you are mistaken. If you would like to do honor survivors, may I suggest making a monetary donation to http://www.lls.org or http://www.acs.org or any such organization? They need your support, and posting on Facebook does absolutely nothing. Donating time or money does. Don’t kid yourselves.

    I actually received a few messages that said they would donate because I had a point.

    • Agreed entirely. All it does is make noise and make the poster look like just another sheep. A far more worthy post would be to provide that donation information.

      But people don’t care about doing the right thing or a smart thing. All they care about is getting “likes.” Echoing a popular thing that someone else said is an easy way to get those likes. Finding the links to worthy causes would require effort and we all know how little effort they want to put into their social networking activities.

  3. I wanted to post original publishing because the sentiment was heartfelt. Everyone has their own way of expressing love or compassion for others. Perhaps your article will encourage people to express their own feelings, but social networking is something we share,and philosophical quotes are standard keynotes. Basically, networking or blogging is fun, and I am posting both a sentiment passonski plus your blog because thoughts for the safety of others are on my mind hard, as well.

What do you think?